He is one of the first Indian DJ/producers to be signed to EDM record label giant, Spinnin Records. He has collaborated with the likes of Borgeous, and has quite a few chart-topping hits to his name, including an unofficial remix of Coldplay's "Magic". Dance music forerunners such as Tiesto have hailed him as one of the brightest talents to come out of the Indian dance music industry. We are talking about Zaeden, who is set to perform at Tomorrowland 2018, another addition to the long list of coveted festivals and venues that he has performed at, already. Zaeden will be playing a B2B set with fellow Indian producer duo, Lost Stories, at Tiesto's Musical Freedom Stage.
Zaeden shared the stage with Borgeous at Tomorrowland 2015, when he premiered their collaboration “Yesterday”. Here is what he expects this time around from the festival, his journey so far, and his plans for the future.
Loudest: This will be your second time at Tomorrowland. The first time, you premiered the track "Yesterday" with Borgeous. How did that happen? What was your learning from this experience and did things change for you in the Indian market after that Tomorrowland appearance?
Zaeden: I’m really looking forward to it again! The first time around, Borgeous wanted me to come on stage with him and play the track. It was a magical experience. The appearance definitely helped me widen my reach and connect to more fans from around the world.
Loudest: What are you expecting this time around?
Zaeden: This time, it’ll be even bigger! I’m going to be playing the musical freedom stage by Tiesto and Budweiser. I am also very happy to be sharing the stage with Lost Stories. He’s always inspired me, as a producer. We love doing back to back shows, since we have similar taste in music.
Loudest: Your sound has changed quite a bit over the last year or so, from your earliest releases that were more big room to recent releases that have an unmistakable summer vibe to them. Was it a deliberate decision to move away from big room?
Zaeden: Yes, it was a deliberate attempt. Big Room stopped being inspiring for me. But more importantly, pop has always been my focus. Even the big room stuff I released in the past had pop vocals, and the same goes for the deep house stuff I released, later on. It’s a shift in genres, yes, but not in vision. I’ve always been into pop music. Be it deep or progressive house or just simple acoustic music, like the recent covers that I have done.
Loudest: Tell us about getting signed to a major label. Does getting signed to a label help in today's times, when people can become YouTube and Soundcloud stars, overnight? Are there any added pressures to being signed to a major label, from an artistic standpoint?
Zaeden: It’s (getting signed to a label) not a must. I feel like if you’re getting a deal on your terms, it's great. However, successful people became successful by doing it “their Way”, and not “the way”. Pragmatically speaking, there are always pros and cons to getting signed to a label. The biggest advantage is you can reach more people. However, at the same time, your music has to be really special; otherwise, it doesn’t matter what (record) label it’s on.
Loudest: In a 2016 interview, you hinted at an album. Any updates on that front? Also, any news on the much-awaited collaboration with Raghav Mathur?
Zaeden: Yes, I’ve been working on a lot of music. I want my album to have more of my vocals than just my productions, since I have started singing, of late. Hence, the album has been a bit delayed. However, I’m happy with the direction my music is growing in. As far as the collaboration with Raghav goes, we are finished with the version and are super excited to be releasing the remake of Angel Eyes this year.
Loudest: What are your thoughts on the EDM growth story? Do you think the popularity of house and techno, today, owes it to the rise of EDM?
Zaeden: I would say so. I’ve seen some of my friends switch from EDM to techno. India is a great market for underground music. There are a lot of techno DJs and indie artists in the country who are killing it. At the end of the day, it’s all about the music, the vibe and the message, for me, be it techno, or EDM, or, for that matter, pop.
Loudest: At VH1 Supersonic earlier this year, you surprised fans by singing live, on stage. Do you plan to take your singing talents further?
Zaeden: There are definitely plans to take it further. Right now, I’m working on my live shows. Wait for it! It's gonna be something fresh!
Loudest: Avicii passed away, recently. Musicians are more susceptible to depression, since they are constantly on the road. How do you deal with a gruelling tour schedule?
Zaeden: Avicii was one of the reasons I started making music. He was, and is, my hero. I, honestly, try to go on holidays every now and then to destress. Eating right and exercising really helps, too. Most importantly, it is important to have people (just a few) around you, who you can be really honest and vulnerable with.
Loudest: What can we expect from Zaeden in the next 12 months?
Zaeden: Music wise, I will be releasing remakes of "Tempted to Touch" & "Angel eyes". I also have original productions in the pipeline. I am working on a collaboration with Yves V, entitled "Something Like". I am also working on a track with Jordan Johnson, and then, there is my EP, which will have plenty of my vocals.